Mae's Real Stories

Memories for Miriam, Alice, Theo, Delia, Tessa and anyone else who would like to be here

Thursday, November 30, 2006



Here are Alice and Miriam's two dollhouses:

When Evelyn was a little girl, Lenny made her a plain dollhouse. Then he decided to make her a much fancier dollhouse. In a book called The Great Houses of San Francisco (by Bruce and Aidala, 1976), he found a photo of a house that we thought was very beautiful, and he made a dollhouse.

This dollhouse has been set up at our house ever since he made it. Sometimes I buy new things for it, so the furnishings and doll inhabitants change all the time. Last summer, Miriam and Alice rearranged the furniture, and we looked in the cabinets and found a lot of things that had been put away for a long time. Here are a few photos of the inside of the dollhouse today.

Monday, November 27, 2006


Long Hair

Miriam and Alice asked me to take photos of their hair!

I also decided to add this picture of my mother showing her very long curls. I think that she had this picture taken just before she cut her hair for the first time when she was about 12 years old.


Art Walk

On Sunday, Miriam visited the Mall in Washington, D.C. with Grandma and Grandpa. The sculpture gardens were very sunny while we were looking at the sculptures.

Near the sculpture garden is the merry-go-round.
After Miriam rode the merry-go-round, we saw some paintings in the National Gallery of Art, and ate lunch in the cafeteria there.

Then we watched the ice skaters in the rink in the other sculpture garden at the Mall. Some time Miriam will try ice skating. It looks like fun, even though some of the skaters needed to hold onto the sides of the rink or they would fall down. After a while, we heard that the skaters had to stop so that the Zamboni could smooth out the ice.


Thanksgiving Day

November 23 was Thanksgiving Day. Tracy cooked turkey and many other dishes. Before dinner, Miriam and Alice colored and made bracelets with stickers.

Arny and Tracy bought a new kitchen thermometer to tell when the turkey was done. Evelyn made two pies. It was a very special day.

Monday, November 20, 2006


Myrtle's Dollhouse Story

Myrtle writes:
When I was a little girl, in first grade, I went to Delmar Harvard School.
This was the same school that Mae, Arnie and Elaine went to. We lived in an apartment, east of the school, while the Feldman's lived in a neighborhood of homes, west of the school. My first grade teacher's name was Miss Scott. She had a table in the room that had a Colonial Doll House that resembled the Colonial House that was on Delmar Blvd., near the Feldman's home. It is no longer there. The table also had a farm with animals. In my eyes, the doll house was beautiful. If you were good and did all of your school work, Miss Scott would invite you (if you were a girl) to stay in at recess and clean the doll house. If you were a boy, you might be invited to clean the farm. I got to clean the doll house once.

One of the other chores, if you were good, was to clean the Gold Fish bowl. You got to go to the Principal's office and use the janitors sink. I got to do this once, too. I went into the closet in the Principal's office where the sink was. I was filling the bowl with water, and got too much water in it, and the fish fell into the sink and went down the drain. I cried, and the Principal told me it was okay. I learned to read in Miss Scott's room. We used the Dick and Jane books. My friend Reed, who lives here in Fort Worth, is a children's book collector. She owned the entire series of Dick and Jane books, and recently auctioned them off and they sold for lots of money.

My son-in-law Mark, who is a doctor, built doll houses for his and Debbie's boys and Brenda's girls. I think the boys played with the doll house more than the girls ever did. The boys also had a play kitchen with all of the cooking utensils and play dough kitchen food. All three boys who are all grown up, are good cooks, and are wonderful with children.

Sunday, November 19, 2006



Long ago we got a puppy named Dolly. When we got her she was around knee-high to Evelyn, who was five years old.

Dolly was the first big pet in our family; eventually she grew to be a middle-sized dog. I did not have any pets when I was a little girl. Evelyn had only small pets before this, like gerbils and a rather disgusting frog. She always wanted a better pet, so finally we decided to get Dolly.

As a young dog, Dolly could run really fast. We often took her to a park near our house and she ran and ran. If another dog was walking in the park, she would run back and forth and in little circles, trying to start a race. Finally the other dog got the idea and began to run too. Dolly always ran faster.

Dolly lived at our house for many years. She became calmer as she grew older, but when she was a puppy, sometimes she ran away from home and we had to go and look for her. We would call and call: "Dolly, Dolly." After a while, she always came back. When she got older, she still liked to run sometimes, but she ran more slowly and stayed with us when we took her for a walk.

Dry dog food from her own dish was supposed to be Dolly's only food because this is good for a dog. But every dinner time, she waited underneath the table. If a little piece of our food fell down, she grabbed it and ate it up. If no food fell down, she would tap her chin on our knees to get our attention. She seemed to be saying: "Feed me!"

When I cooked in the kitchen, Dolly sat next to my feet in case any little scraps fell down. OK, sometimes I gave her a taste even though I was not supposed to. She seemed to say "thank you."

Dolly had long shaggy hair. It usually fell in front of her eyes, but she seemed able to see through it. In summer, we took her to the dog groomer and she got a haircut. It made her look very different.

Another Pet: Marlowe the Cat

When Miriam and Alice were younger, they had a cat named Marlowe who usually stayed in their basement. When this picture was taken, Evelyn, Tom, and Miriam (the baby in the laundry basket) lived in Maryland in a different house than they do now. Right before Alice was born, they moved to Virginia and Marlowe moved with them. He lived the rest of his life in their basement in Virginia.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Dollhouse Fun from the 1950s

First, meet Mrs. Bendy, the dollhouse mother. Notice that she has plastic legs that bend at the knees, and her arms also bend. That's why we called her Mrs. Bendy. Mr. Bendy, the dollhouse father, wore a blue suit. We had a lot of little pink babies and also a bigger brother and sister. They all lived in our doll house.

Mr. and Mrs. Bendy were about three inches tall. Mr. Bendy's leg was broken, and had been mended with tape, so he could not sit down comfortably. The babies were about 1 inch tall.

I found these photos on the web, showing stencilled metal dollhouses like ours with furniture pretty much like the furniture we had (and of course the photo of Mrs. Bendy). I learned that the house came from a factory in New York called T. Cohn, and a toy company called Renwal made our dollhouse furniture and dolls.

Elaine and I got our dollhouse for a present one Christmas when we were very little, and played with it for a long time. Our dollhouse had six rooms and a porch. Each room had plastic furniture. It looked pretty much like the furniture in these photos (though some of the photos with furniture are of a different type of dollhouse).

Dollhouse Interiors

Mr. and Mrs. Bendy's bedroom had beds and a dresser with mirror. I clearly remember the funny little lamps for their bedside tables.

A full bathroom set included a clothes hamper -- something we didn't have in our own house.

The Bendys had couches, chairs, tables, a radio, lamps (that didn't light up), and a phone for the livingroom. I think they also had something that's unusual in homes today: an ash tray on a stand. People back then (and I guess dolls) smoked cigarettes in their houses, and placed the ashes in an ash tray.

In the kitchen were a stove, refrigerator, sink, table, and chairs. The refrigerator did not open up, it was just a plastic shell. The dining room had a table, chairs and a buffet, but I haven't found a good picture of that type of furniture.
In the children's room were a crib, baby buggy, potty chair, and a playpen for the many babies and some toys like a tricycle.

The dollhouse windows were all made of metal, as was the outside, with pictures stencilled on the insides of the rooms, the floors, and the walls.

I think my favorite dollhouse item was the floor-model radio. I used to hold it up to my ear and pretend that I could hear music. I had this radio and a few other things before we got the metal dollhouse. My mother had made us a dollhouse out of an orange crate. She painted the crate dark green on the outside, and put light blue wallpaper in the rooms. There was only one big room upstairs and one downstairs in the orange crate, and the ceiling was much too high. The next photo shows me riding my tricycle next to the very orange crate that became a dollhouse. The back of the photo says so!

I don't remember what happened to our dollhouse, except that my mother gave it to other children when she thought we were too old for it.

The dollhouse that I have now is very different from the one we had as children, except for one baby that somehow was never given away. This baby now has different toys, a different crib, and a different family, but she doesn't mind: after all, she's old enough to be a grandma!


Good Eating

The Ebenshad Turkey Farm, which is out in the country near Arny and Tracy's, says it is the oldest turkey farm in the country. Every time we have Thanksgiving Dinner with Arny and Tracy, they drive out into the country and buy a turkey there. They will do so again next week. This is a picture of a tree stump made into a turkey that is on the grounds of the farm.


Myrtle's Thanksgiving Memories

Myrtle writes :
"Grandma fixed a stuffing, which I continue to fix every Thanksgiving. It is noodles, turkey stock, eggs, onions, celery, and garlic. I have added mushrooms to it. I also make a bread stuffing, but unlike most of my Texas friends, I cannot make, nor do I like, a cornbread dressing. My Mother-in-law made a bread stuffing that had lots of sage in it. She would start cooking the turkey before she went to sleep on Wednesday, and it would cook for at least 12 hours. By the time it got served, it was pretty dry.

"Most of my family like the noodle stuffing.

"I also looked forward to the trip downtown to see the Christmas windows."

Tuesday, November 14, 2006



On Thanksgiving morning my mother always began roasting a big turkey. She cut up the onions, celery, and bread to make the stuffing, put it in the turkey, and put the turkey in the oven. After a while, the whole house began to smell very good. At that time, turkeys took longer to cook than they do now, so we enjoyed the smell of turkey cooking for much longer. Otherwise, Thanksgiving is very much the same as now. Nobody has to go to work or to school. All day we look forward to having Thanksgiving dinner at a big table of family and friends.

During the long wait for the turkey to cook, my father sometimes had a good idea. We could drive downtown and look at the display windows of the big department stores. Before he had a car, a friend named Miss Moreell took us downtown in her car once, and then ate dinner at our house. When we had a car of our own, we drove in our car.

Usually, department-store windows weren't very interesting. "Dummies" which were like great big dolls, stood in the window dressed up in the clothes that were sold in the store. But Thanksgiving was the day that the stores first let people see their very special Christmas decorations in the display windows. One store always had a big corner window built to look like a little village with many toy trains going round and round the village. The trains stopped in the tiny pretend stations in the town. Then they went over pretend mountains and through pretend tunnels. We could hear the sounds of the train whistle and the little wheels chugging, broadcast into the street along with seasonal music. Sometimes we saw windows with Santa Claus and the Elves, or a big display of the characters from the Nutcracker ballet. Every year the displays were new.

Since no one had to drive to work on Thanksgiving, it was easy to drive without the usual traffic. The stores were closed, but we didn't want to go shopping, we just wanted to look at the decorated display windows. After we looked at the windows, we came home and found that my mother had almost finished roasting the turkey. It was almost time for our guests to arrive. We would all sit down and enjoy turkey, stuffing, vegetables, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, and then my mother's home made pie.

Monday, November 13, 2006


Art and Art Museums

When I was a little girl we sometimes went to the St.Louis Art Museum. My mother often showed us books or magazines with famous art works shown in them. I liked the picture shown above of a princess named Margharita. A Spanish artist named Velazquez made this picture. A framed copy of it hung on the wall of the bedroom that Elaine and I shared.

One time our family went to see a very famous picture named "The Man with the Golden Helmet" (above) at the Art Museum. The picture was only there for a short time, and my mother explained that it was very special to see it. Recently I visited in Berlin, Germany, and I saw it again in a museum there. I still think it is wonderful.

Vermeer was a very wonderful painter. He painted the next two pictures. The first one shows a geographer, that is, a man who makes and studies maps. The second shows a woman standing at a window.

One of the most famous paintings in the world is the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci. The real painting is in the Louvre Museum in Paris, France. Copies of it, including many silly copies, are everywhere.

When Evelyn saw the real Mona Lisa for the first time, she was very disappointed. "That's the most famous painting in the world?" she asked. "It's boring!"

After that, I started to show her silly pictures that people had made that looked a little like Mona Lisa and also many things that have a copy of Mona Lisa on them. Since everyone knows what Mona Lisa looks like, everyone can laugh at a silly picture of someone like her. I have a lot of cards, advertisements, games, and other things with Mona Lisa on them. Here is one of the silliest things I have: a rubber duckie that looks like Mona Lisa.



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